Sir Jim: We need a way forward for Old Trafford

Wednesday 21 February 2024 16:30

Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe says that the club is currently weighing up whether to redevelop Old Trafford or build a brand-new stadium.

The future of our 114-year-old home has been the subject of much speculation in the last few years, with many fans keen to see the overall capacity increased.
The topic was one of the first raised in a new, in-depth interview Sir Jim gave to club media on Wednesday, following confirmation on Tuesday evening that the businessman had completed a deal to acquire part of the club.
Speaking to Helen Evans, Ratcliffe acknowledged that the stadium's future was one of two pressing issues that he is particularly eager to confront.
Preview | Our interview with Sir Jim Video

Preview | Our interview with Sir Jim

Our full interview with Sir Jim Ratcliffe is coming soon. For now, watch some of the key moments…

“If you look at our role at Manchester United, there are two key issues that we have to address,” began the Failsworth-born INEOS chief. 
“One is the football, which is performance on the field really, which is is always going to be our priority with Manchester United. 
“But the second one, the second big issue really in the club, which a lot of people talk about and are conscious of, is where the stadium sits today.”
Sir Jim noted that Old Trafford still leads the way, in terms of size, when it comes to English club grounds, but was frank about the need for further progress. 
“I mean, it's an impressive stadium and it's the largest Premier League stadium in the country – the second-largest stadium in the country to Wembley, I suppose,” he said. 
“But it's not quite of the standard you would expect of Manchester United today and it's fallen behind. Maybe 20 years ago, it was [at the standard], but today, it's fallen behind.”

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Supporters are thirsty for more information on what happens next – given Ratcliffe has already pledged $300 million for 'future investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford' – but Sir Jim revealed that discussions are already under way.
“We do need to look at the way forward for the stadium, the redevelopment of that stadium, and that there are clearly two roads we could take: we could refurbish the existing stadium or we could look at building a new stadium. And that's what we're looking at, at the moment.”
A subsequent question concerned our training ground at Carrington, but Ratcliffe indicated that Old Trafford was very much the first priority.
“Yes [Carrington is in our thoughts], but I think it's secondary to Old Trafford,” he said. “Carrington is fairly impressive, I think. I quite like Carrington as a facility. I mean, I think there are things that we can do to improve it, but I don't think they're of the magnitude that the stadium requires.”